Technology is not always foolproof and that’s exactly what a new Google Maps experiment tried to prove. Artist Simon Weckert has posted a video on YouTube showing how he managed to “hack” Google Maps to create virtual traffic jams on the streets of Berlin.
For his experiment, Weckert loaded 99 smartphones running Google Maps into a cart. He then had someone wheel that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office.
The phones apparently fooled Google Maps into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets. Because the phones were in a cart, Maps was further tricked into believing that the traffic was slow-moving.
As a result, the navigation app started showing virtual traffic jams by turning green streets to red. You can watch the video below to see the trick in action.
Google Maps uses data generated by users to identify fast or slow moving traffic as well as traffic jams. By analyzing things like speed, location, and other crowdsourced data, Google generates a live traffic map of an area or a road.
Weckert apparently took advantage of these very Google Maps features to fool the app into marking streets as red. As a result, nearby users could have been diverted to other routes even though the streets in question were actually empty.